Gravity Shift is a video installation that looks at how we might read gravity through witnessing another body. It aims to decentre the viewer’s relationship to the installation through presentation of a dancer whose actions are affected by a moving pull of gravity.
Variation of Gravity
The direction of gravity perceived by an audience remains a constant downwards in live dance and performance. Though there are countless theatrical techniques that try to defy this (aerial flying wires, balletic techniques etc), performers are inevitably subservient to omnipresent attraction exerted by gravity. In live performance both audience and performers experience this pull creating a universal sense of “down” both on and off stage. This shared sensation aids to create a sense of stability or centredness within the viewer’s mind as the effect of gravity witnessed on stage concurs with their own local sensations.
Post-modern art, particularly installation art has frequently sought to question assumed stabilities through a shifting of the viewer’s perception.
This installation aims to create a situation that decentres the viewer’s physical awareness through presentation of human movement where the pull of gravity has been dynamically distorted.
Techniques for adjusting the perceived direction of gravity
Video inherently separates the space of the viewer from the space of the performer. For video the performance space is the frame rather than the shared physical arena and its orientation is defined entirely by the viewpoint of a camera operator not the audience. The project exploits this property in order to change the perceived direction of gravity.
In practice this involved the creation of an automated dance floor which could pivot in conjunction with a video camera. From the point of view of the camera the dance floor would always be aligned to the camera’s frame.
2016 Axis Arts Centre, Crewe
2015 Circus Gallery, London
2014 Brighton Digital Festival, The Dome, Brighton
2013 The Place Theatre, London
2013 Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Leeds
2012 British Dance Edition, Stratford, London
2011 The Lightbox Gallery, Woking International Dance Festival
2011 Cinedans Festival, Amsterdam
2011 Digital Futures in Dance conference, Bournemouth
2010 Brunel University DRHA conference
2010 Otter Gallery, University of Chichester
Performers: Andrea Buckely, Aya Kobayashi, Carrie Whitaker, Luke Birch, Saju Hari, Gary Stevens, Guy Dartnell, Chris Copland
Artistic director: Nic Sandiland
Choreographic adviser: Yael Flexer
MotionBase team: Keith Parker, Alan Dobbie
Software Programmer: Sam Wane
Stage construction: Simon York, Miraculous Engineering
Funding and in kind support: CueSim, Landsdown Centre for Electronic Art, Staffordshire University, Arts Council England